China vows ongoing support to resolve euro crisis

China's Premier Wen Jiabao waves during the European Union-China summit at the Egmont Palace in Brussels September 20, 2012.

BRUSSELS - China pledged continued assistance Thursday to help tackle the eurozone debt crisis, saying Europe was "on the right track" but needed to implement the measures agreed to fix its problems.

Premier Wen Jiabao told EU and Chinese business leaders that Beijing had continued purchases of European government bonds in recent months and discussed cooperation with the new eurozone rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

As the 500-billion-euro (S$794 billion) ESM becomes operational next month, "China will continue to play its part in helping resolve the European debt issue through appropriate channels," Wen said.

"Europe is on the right track in tackling its debt issue... What is crucial now is to fully implement the policies agreed" to put it on firmer ground, he told the meeting, held alongside the annual European Union-China summit.

The EU and China form "one of the most important partnerships in the world," added Wen, who will step down early next year as China changes leadership.

"I hold the development of this relationship close to my heart," he said after signing a 49-point, four-page agreement with the EU ranging from foreign policy to research and development, and thousands of student scholarships.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy told the businessmen that, faced with slowing world growth, China and the 27-state bloc had to do their utmost to bolster the relationship, worth one billion euros a day in trade alone.

"Our economies are integrated to the point where it is difficult to imagine one without the other," he said, stressing the need for open markets and free trade - an apparent allusion to a series of trade disputes with Beijing.

Both sides, however, argued that the wider relationship was bigger than any trade spat, reaffirming in the summit statement "the importance of trade openness to sustainable economic growth and development."

Van Rompuy also highlighted efforts made to stabilise the eurozone through closer economic and political integration, speaking of an "unrelenting commitment to the euro."

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